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Self-Esteem And Impression Management

Self-Esteem And Impression Management

The social influences of our environment, family, and friends shape our self-concept from a young age (Osborn, 2019). We develop a broader sense of our social self as we get older, and our self-concept becomes more detailed and complex. For example, we no longer identify as boys or girls or as members of a specific race. Our identity or self-concept is influenced not only by interpersonal relationships but also by how we see ourselves and want to be perceived by others. This paper will provide six examples from my life that cover impression management, social tuning, social comparison, mindset, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and causal theories that were shaped by my parents, friends, community, culture, and teachers, as well as one example that explicitly addresses face to face versus nonverbal communication styles and the measures required when communicating nonverbally.

Impression Control

When it comes to making a good first impression, we all want to look our best when meeting new people for the first time (Kte, 2020). This is due to the fact that the majority of people are concerned with making a good first impression. Growing up in a church community, my mother always emphasized the importance of wearing our Sunday best. This is significant because research shows that first impressions have long-term and positive effects (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). For my family, the church was always a safe haven that required constant participation. My mother valued the acceptance of others in our community group because first impressions are formed quickly and reflect who you are (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). I recall only being allowed to wear dresses to church because anything else, according to my mother, would make our family appear careless. According to research, dressing nicely and presenting a positive attitude can make a good impression because it necessitates the use of self-presentation strategies and impression management (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). My family used impression management techniques when attending church by changing our attitudes, dressing properly, and always smiling in front of others. Today, I use these same self-improvement tools to boost my appeal by dressing nicely when attending social events and always presenting a positive attitude around others in order to induce positive moods and reactions.

Unmediated communication between two or more people is referred to as face-to-face interaction (Codington-Lacerte, 2020). It can be used to obtain immediate feedback and approval from peers, as demonstrated by my experience with my mother and the church community. My mother shaped my impression management strategies, which influence how I interact in social settings and with others. Nonverbal communication can, however, be improved by taking steps to improve self-presentation, impression management, cognitive biases, and attributional inferences. Self-presentation, for example, is a behavior in which people attempt to influence how others perceive them (Codington- Lacerte, 2020). Positive facial expressions are one way to ensure self-presentation and impression management in social situations. According to psychologists Edward Jones and Thane Pittman, when communicating nonverbally, integrating, doing favors, projecting a positive attitude, and remaining attractive, such as looking nice, are all important (Codington-Lacerte, 2020).

Attributional inferences and cognitive biases are conclusions drawn about others based on the causes of events and behavior (Miller, 2019). People make attributions to understand other people’s experiences, which has a significant impact on how they interact with others. Attributions can frequently lead to cognitive biases. Although Heider’s common sense theory can help improve nonverbal communication, attributional interferences, and cognitive biases. According to Fritz Heider, people observe others, analyze their behavior, and make rational decisions based on their own common sense (Miller, 2019). This entails limiting personal biases and blaming others for external and internal forces (Miller, 2019).

Social adjusting

Individuals who social tune automatically adopt the attitudes of those with whom they interact. According to studies, people want to get along with one another and are willing to change their attitudes toward the behaviors of others in order to achieve cohesiveness (Sinclair, Lowery, et al., 2005). Each of my siblings was reasonably active in my experience. For example, my sister played basketball for Cal Baptist University, my brother played football for Pacific High School, and I ran track for Indian Springs High School. Individuals form and maintain social bonds by developing a shared reality with others, according to the theory of social tuning (Sinclair et al., 2005). This reality frequently shapes their perception of the world and of themselves (Sinclair et al., 2005). Prior to beginning high school, I disliked socializing and participating in sports. My mother frequently had to coerce me to go outside and play with my siblings or friends. However, as I grew older and desired to form close social bonds with my siblings, my perspective shifted. I felt a stronger desire to be more active and participate in sports in order to share my similarities with my siblings, which motivated us to get along and form stronger bonds.

Social Contrasts

In social comparison theory, we compare ourselves to others in order to assess how we think and feel about ourselves. People compare themselves for a variety of reasons, including learning from others and feeling good about themselves. According to Festinger (1954), we compare ourselves to others because there is no objective yardstick to measure ourselves against for many qualities and domains; other people are thus very informative (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). According to social comparison theory, we compare ourselves to others in either a downward or upward social comparison (Branscombe & Baron, 2016).

In my personal experience, I have always mentally compared my success to that of my family and friends. For example, all of my siblings graduated from high school and attended college before dropping out. I was determined to finish my education after high school, so I decided to attend college out of state, in comparison to my sister and best friend, who went to Cal Baptist University and Cal State San Bernardino. I used the downward social comparison theory to make myself feel better because I knew I’d be in a better environment if I moved out of state. In April 2019, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Government with a concentration in Legal Studies. I pursued this degree to socially compare myself to my Uncle, who owned his own law firm. However, after graduating and working in the field of mental health, I decided to pursue a Master of Science in Psychology. Finally, I want to get a higher education so that I can help others while also outperforming my family.


It stands to reason that how we perceive our talents and abilities affects our success in school, work, art, sports, and all other areas of human endeavor. Our beliefs about how we develop our abilities are shaped by the concept of mindset. Carol Dweck, a social and developmental psychologist, defines mindset in terms of fixed and growth mindsets. A fixed mindset implies that fundamental abilities, talents, and intelligence are inherent and fixed (Popan, 2020). A fixed mindset, for example, believes that whatever traits they are born with are the ones they will always have and that these traits cannot be changed or developed because they are innate (Popan, 2020). A growth mindset implies that skills, talent, and intelligence can be developed or enhanced (Popan, 2020). This mindset thrives on difficulty, accepts change, and seeks new directions (Popan, 2020).

In my experience, being naturally independent contributed significantly to my success. In my educational journey, my fixed mindset has been to strive and be the best at everything rather than accepting my flaws in fear of being judged or labeled as a failure. For example, in middle school, I was afraid of change and would never approach my teachers for assistance. I remember not understanding my assignments, but instead of asking for help, I would stay up all night using the textbook to teach myself. I developed a strong apprehension of being judged and labeled a failure. As a result, I became a perfectionist, finishing assignments early and relying on the textbook to guide me to success rather than seeking assistance. Previously, my failures defined me because I believed my efforts were insufficient. Although, when I succeeded, I attributed my success to my abilities rather than those who taught me.

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

People enjoy participating in or completing tasks because of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation states that people participate in activities that are pleasurable or enjoyable to them (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). In contrast to extrinsic motivation, which suggests that people participate in tasks to obtain rewards or avoid punishment, intrinsic motivation suggests that people participate in tasks because they want to avoid punishment (Branscombe & Baron, 2016).

Growing up in a large family deprived me of privacy and space, in my opinion. Many of the things I obtained had to be shared, but I found enjoyment in reading because it was something I did not have to share and was not compelled to do by my parents. Reading was an intrinsic motivation for me because it allowed me to express myself in the words of other authors while also allowing me to escape reality. Extrinsic motivation states that we perform tasks we dislike in order to obtain rewards such as better jobs, more money, and higher tasks (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). Although my extrinsic motivation is receiving a paycheck and free education, I enjoy my job at Grand Canyon University. Working nights, 10-hour shifts, and dealing with constant stress are all part of my job. However, the incentive of receiving a paycheck every two weeks and attending school for free drives my motivation.

Causal Models

According to causal theory in social psychology, human behaviors are the result of a chain reaction of cause and effect (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). That is, adult behaviors are a direct result of events that occur during our childhood and early life stages. According to the cause-and-effect theory, the influence of one event causes the other (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). My reaction to being in cars is an example from my personal life. For example, when I was four years old, I was walking home from church when I was hit by a truck. I had minor injuries but was put into a coma for two weeks. I was in another accident when I was 14 years old and smashed my head against the car window. I developed a fear of driving and riding with others after being involved in two major car accidents. I no longer volunteer to drive and instead prefer to have friends come to me. These behaviors are a direct result of my accidents, which have left me traumatized when in or around vehicles.


At a young age, our social environment, including our family, friends, and culture, influences our self-concept. We gain a better understanding of ourselves and how we want to be perceived by others as we grow older. According to impression management, humans like to make a good first impression. For example, my mother makes certain that we look our best for our church community. According to social tuning, we change our attitudes and behaviors to create group cohesion. For example, I changed my attitude toward sports in order to strengthen my bonds with my siblings. According to social comparison theory, we compare ourselves to others to make ourselves feel better. According to mindsets, how we perceive our talents and abilities influences how we learn and grow. For example, I attribute my academic success to my natural ability to be smart. Why we are motivated to complete tasks is explained by intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. According to causal theory, adult behavior is both a cause and an effect of childhood trauma. Our self-concept is formed initially by our personal experiences, and how we see ourselves shapes our self-esteem. Impression management explains how we try to better ourselves. However, when communicating nonverbally, it is critical to maintain a positive attitude, be relational, and avoid cognitive distortions.


Branscombe, N., & Baron, R. (2016). Social psychology. Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing. ISBN-13: 9780134410968 URL: resources/pearson/2016/social-psychology_ebook_14e.php

Codington-Lacerte, C. (2020). Face-to-face interaction. Salem Press Encyclopedia.

Kate, M. (2020). Impression management. Salem Press Encyclopedia.

Miller, R. (2019). Self-presentation. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health.

Osborne, R. E. (2019). Self-esteem. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health.

Popan, E. M. (2020). Mindset. Salem Press Encyclopedia.

Sinclair, S., Lowery, B. S., Hardin, C. D., & Colangelo, A. (2005). Social Tuning of Automatic Racial Attitudes: The Role of Affiliative Motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(4), 583–592. 3514.89.4.583


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Adolescence is a period of life in which one is subjected to concerns surrounding self-esteem and impression management. Utilizing the following categories, select four to provide personal examples of how your personal views and style of expression were shaped by others (parents, peers, teachers, community, etc.).

Self-Esteem And Impression Management

Self-Esteem And Impression Management

  • impression management
  • social tuning
  • social comparisons
  • mindsets
  • intrinsic/extrinsic motivation
  • causal theories

In 750-1,000 words:

  • Provide a personal example of how your personal views were shaped by others for each of the four categories selected.
  • Provide a personal example of how your style of expression (physically, verbally, and in writing) was shaped by others for each of the four categories selected.

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